Thursday, July 20, 2006

Climate coalition's response to an RSNZ editorial

from issue 432 July 2006
Once again i reiterate that with such a complicated issue, the wisest course of action is to do no harm and listen for the consensus view developing among those qualified to have the argument. This would mean sensible actions on reducing fossil fuel use and increasing efficiency of the way we use it. There are many emminently sensible things we can do to stop wasting our precious resources that make sense even in the absence of the climate change perspective.

9. LETTER FROM CLIMATE SCIENCE COALITION IN RESPONSE TO LAST WEEK'S EDITORIALDr Jez Weston's response to our call for a Royal Commission misrepresentsthe Coalition and fails to provide any hard facts to support his contentions.The Coalition's fundamental stance is not that we "simply don't believethere is a problem" it is: "The science is not settled".We do not know with any certainty how Earth's climate may be changing, howmuch change at the global scale is due to human activities versus naturalcycles and change, or whether these changes in global climate would bemostly harmful or mostly beneficial for the Earth as a whole. There is nohard scientific evidence to suggest that catastrophic change is underway orthat its onset is forthcoming.Sound science thrives on open and honest debate. But in the area of changesin the climate, this debate has been marred by selection, distortion, andeven suppression of evidence, and by political interference with scientificdiscussion. There are false claims of consensus among scientists, implyingthat one or another group of scientists holds the high ground anddenigration of those who disagree as paid hacks of big business. Goodscience is not about votes or consensus. Good science thrives on debate andskepticism. It is about propositions that are capable of being verified, orrefuted, regardless of the beliefs of the observer.Our views are broadly consistent with page 97 of the 2001 IPCC report thatstates: "The fact that the global mean temperature has increased since thelate 19th century and that other trends have been observed does notnecessarily mean that an anthropogenic effect on the climate system hasbeen identified.. Climate has always varied on all time-scales, so theobserved change may be natural. A more detailed analysis is required toprovide evidence of a human impact." In other words, the science is notsettled.Recent and very convincing support for our beliefs comes from theconclusions of the National Academy of Sciences Report available athttp://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/07192006hearing1987/hearing.htmand the release of the Barton Committee's report to the Energy and CommerceCommittee of the US House of Representatives on 14 July (available at http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf) adds even more weight to the NAS report (for the nub, go to pages 48-52 of thepdf for findings, conclusions and recommendations).We hope the Society will consider the above carefully and seriouslyconsider supporting our call for a Royal Commission. If it cannot do that,I hope it will be able to provide us with hard evidence that:*climate models have accurately predicted future climate;*it is now warmer than it has been in the last 1000 years;and why the Society now appears to believe that, in scientific arguments,consensus carries more weight than the scientific method.(signed)Rear Admiral (ret) Jack Welch CBEChairmanco-signed byProfessor Bob Carter, PhD, Hon Fellow RSNZAssociate Prof Chris de Freitas BA (Hons), MA (Toronto), PhD (Q'ld), MRSNZBryan Leyland, MSc, FIEE, FIMechE, FIPENZ, MRSNZDr Gerrit J. van der LingenProfessor Augie Auer

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